Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Most of the schedule is solidified. I've been working on questions for the mayor since his spokesperson wants the questions by tomorrow. I'm hoping maybe I can bring the stills photographer for a little bit and have him snap a few pictures for the paper. I keep thinking about the things I want to do in the future. Sometimes I get distracted by these thoughts, but I try to remind myself that I'll have plenty of time to think about those things once this is all done.

In randomness, Lindsay Lohan recently did a commercial for the Italian jeans label Fornarina. Ever since I saw the commercial on The Soup last Friday, I can't take my eyes off the trainwreck. Linds is wearing a Hannah Montana wig and spouting out nonsensical, unrelated words to music that The Misshapes would've found passe in 2005:

Michael K from DListed weighed in, but Joel McHale put it best:

Desperate...Need Cash...Cut Lines...Crash Car!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Disappointments & Tribulations

It's 35 degrees and very, very windy, so I spent today hibernating. Hopefully, it'll be the last time I'll have to do that for awhile, since it's going to be in the 50s tomorrow.

I scheduled one more interview today for the DVD. I'm particularly excited about this interviewee, since I got more responses about him than anyone else I interviewed, and frankly, of all the interviewees, I had the most fun interviewing him. It will be my first interview after I get to Binghamton Friday Morning. I literally just got off the phone with the mayor's office, and I have that interview set for 2:30.

Later, I got a message in my inbox from someone who had solicited me to do website design for them saying that she decided to "go forward with another designer". It's disappointing, of course. Between this, and the "cease-and-desist" letter I recieved last week, I'm thinking that maybe now isn't the time to be too preoccupied with entreprenurial endeavors. It takes up a lot of energy. There are web languages and programs that I would have to learn to gain enough confidence to pursue design work. I will continue to look for work, though.

Earlier this year, I had Brian obtain a press pass for me for this year's Tribeca--that was before I knew I was going to SXSW. For awhile, I had been leaning toward no, because of SXSW and needing to see how unemployment would work out. But now as the date looms closer, I'm giving serious thought to going. If I go, I'll only go for the weekend--leave on a Thursday, return Sunday or Monday. I'll see where I'm at with the DVD, the job search, and I have the Neko Case concert coming up that week, too before I make any final decision. It would sure be nice to jump back into the festival circuit before long...

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Now?

I still have two more panels to do for The Film Panel Notetaker. I'm going to work on picking my memory for the Haynes/Linklater panel, but other than that, transcribing panels is taking a backseat this week. I'll be leaving for Binghamton Friday morning, and will be doing new interviews as well as their monthly "art walk". I am also working on a new interview for TFPN as well.

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought about relocating to New York to look for work. Right now, my main concern is working on the DVD. If I can score some type of temp work, that would be great, too. But I'd like to go somewhere else for awhile, and I'm not really keen on returning to Ithaca, especially not after SXSW. Also, it would be really nice to take another UCB class. If there's a time to make that sort of change, it's now, while I still have the safety net of unemployment.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Fempire, Continued.

"Did you see my girls in the Grey Lady today? I was so excited to be in the Times, wearing my Technicolor Dreamcoat."

-Diablo Cody on Twitter, 3/22/09

The Fempire continues to stir a lot of attention in the blogosphere. In my spare time the last couple of days, I've been giving some thought to why I'm so ambivalent about it, but this quote from Women & Hollywood explains everything:

What I have been loving is seeing my fellow feminists weigh in. Most of us have been pretty positive about the piece. The film and gossip people, not so much.

Two sides of me are at war with it. The feminist in me thinks it's great that these women have weaseled their way into what is largely a boys' club. Not only are they not competitive with one another, they actually help each other out and give each other advice.

The other me--the filmmaker, the film fan, the critic agrees with Karina Longworth in the comments section of The Spout's Post:

That’s the problem with this sort of blind “girl power!” –– we’re seriously supposed to cheerlead for the broad who put “What Happens in Vegas” in the world, just because she’s a broad? Is it not a greater crime against feminism to say that female filmmakers are worthy of attention just because of their anatomy, regardless of the fact that they’re propping up business as usual in Hollywood and giving us shit films?

As wonderful as it is that they support each other, I think it would be even better to have Diablo Cody's magic fairy dust rub off on them, and have them write something unique. I might write another post (or make another video) of what I have to say about Diablo Cody, but I'll save it for later, since it's entirely off topic.

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Cease and Desist

When I was embarking on making Are You From Bingo? back in 2005, I established my production company. I chose the name "Polychrome Pictures" because I thought it recalled MGM and Sub Pop at the same time. I even had it registered officially as a business with the Tompkins County registrar (I was residing in Ithaca at the time). Last fall, when I decided to see if I could look for work as a designer, I decided to call my business Polychrome Design.

Yesterday, I recieved a "cease and desist" letter from a company called Polychrome Design in San Francisco. It seems that they have trade marked the name, and potential clients are getting confused. I spoke with the owner of the company over the phone yesterday afternoon. He was a kind gentleman who explained that he had legal troubles himself when taking the company name. He said that it wouldn't effect my production company name, Polychrome Pictures, except for one thing...

There's a Polychrome Pictures, a full fledged production company, based out of Los Angeles. Although my "Polychrome Pictures" name is registered with the Tompkins County registrar, it's a possibility that it could face serious legal boondoggle. I am faced with a serious decision. For now, I plan on calling my design company "Erin Scherer Design" until I can come up with something better, but I'm not actively pursuing design right now. (Though I will take a job if I'm approached.)

I am continuing to look for work. Yesterday, I made phone calls to Geneva General and Cayuga Medical Center. I think I'm ready to go back to work, though mainly a temp position. The trip allowed me to see a number of urban areas, and I wonder if I wouldn't be better off somewhere else. I continue to send resumes for permanent positions locally, but it's more half hearted than ever. I don't feel so grounded anymore. What I'd really like to do is travel around the country more for awhile. But we'll see. Given the economic climate, I'm very lucky that these are the worst of my worries.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Fempire

Yesterday at the Spout Blog, Christopher Campbell blogged about a piece that ran in Friday's The New York Times about The Fempire, which consists of Diablo Cody and her writer friends Dana Fox, Lorene Scafaria, and Liz Meriwether. Campbell goes onto comment:

Similarly, Cody and Co. wouldn’t be written about if they were men. But more importantly, they probably wouldn’t have been written about if they weren’t such good-looking women. So, while there’s something empowering about this foursome of female screenwriters who each boldly wear an identical necklace with an inscription that reads “Fuck My Face,” it was quite necessary to include a lot of tantalizing quotes about them seeing each other naked and sometimes being “super porno” like. And of course that double-edged quote from Siegel above.

I agree with Campbell and David Hauslaib, who say that they probably wouldn't have been profiled if they weren't women. After all, is the media really all that interested in the women who wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and What Happens In Vegas, even if I liked the former and the writer of the latter is from Rochester? Or how about Meriwether, who has had success in selling, yet none of her scripts have come to fruition. Clearly, the article's existence owes itself to Cody, her stripper past, and her Juno Oscar win.

The article, however, touched a raw nerve in yours truly. Back in the day (like, college), I wrote specs. At the time, American Pie and There's Something About Mary were the hot successes, and my first attempt at screenwriting was a rip-off of Half Baked (shut up). My plan was to infiltrate and destroy. Although later I did manage to get one of my scripts to someone involved in one of the American Pie movies, but they were of no help to me at all. If this group of ladies existed at the time I was doing that, maybe I'd still be pursuing it today. Hell, maybe I'd have a career as a screenwriter.

These days, as much as I would love Cody's paycheck (Who wouldn't right now?), I'm quite happy doing what I'm doing. I think the people I'm meeting and acquainting myself with are making movies that special in their own right. Other than money, I finally have what I always wanted.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Full Speed Ahead

Next weekend (April 3rd & 4th), I will be going to Binghamton to tape new interviews for the DVD. Right now, I am in the process of making the final arrangements for the interviews. I have two set in place for April 4th, but I keep getting the runaround from the mayor's office.

Not that it should even be on my mind right now, but I've been giving some thought to my book, too. I realize why it's been difficult for me to write the book, even if I continue to hold interest in it. If I'm going to write a book--any kind of book--I want to write the book in a way that's appealing to a reader with general interest in the subject. I want the reader to get the feeling that they couldn't help but pull it off the shelf when they saw it. Should I ever find the time and resources to write this book, the challenge in creating and writing this book will be in organizing and presenting the material and subject matter in a way people want to read.

Due to resources (or lack thereof), however, I may try it as a blog first. Today I ordered WordPress For Dummies along with a book written by my new documentary subject, and a book called From IX To V from Amazon.com. I will read the first book, then decide if it's worth my time.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

It was great, but I'm happy to be home.

We left our hotel room in Tennessee just before daybreak yesterday morning, and drove for an hour before stopping at a Shoney's in Bristol, Virginia, where we ate their breakfast buffet. Afterward, we continued driving north, making many stops along the way for bathroom breaks and snacks. I filled that time shooting video, as well as devouring Filmmaker magazine, which we got in the SXSW Goody Bags for free. It was weird reading an interview with Barry Jenkins just days after speaking with him extensively. For dinner, we stopped at The Country Cupboard for dinner. I had some type of hot roast beef sandwich with onions and melted cheese. The Country Cupboard also has an adjoined store that sells candy, baked goods, and many other things. I bought a smidge of Peanut Butter Oreo fudge and ate it on the way home.

The last piece of video I shot was the sign that read "Welcome to New York". It was very dark, and my battery power was very low. I got back home around 10 O'Clock or so, took a shower, and went back to sleep.

Now that this is all done and over with, I'm more eager than ever to work on the DVD. The sooner I get this done, the sooner I can work on everything else. A big priority for me this week is to finalize getting the interviews scheduled. There is one thing that is of concern to me, however.

From the time I first saw Mutual Appreciation, I have wanted to make a narrative feature film. For awhile now, I've kind of set the idea aside because I've been preoccupied with putting together another documentary, and also, I couldn't find anything worth pursuing. Yesterday, somewhere in Virginia, I came up with a perfect idea--or at least one that for me would be worth my time. I don't want to abandon the documentary, but I feel like this idea comes from a much deeper place than anything I've pursued to date. If I'm able to get this one off the ground, it would the type of movie I've wanted to make since I was in college. An idea I had well before Andrew Bujalski and others were on my radar.

Right now, though, I have to go get my father's truck, help him e-mail pictures, and work on a panel for The Film Panel Notetaker.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Walking In Memphis

The first thing we did after we crossed the Tennessee Border was miss a ramp into Memphis, which had us driving around to find it again for 20 minutes. Then we stopped at the Lorraine Motel, now the Civil Rights Museum. They had the lunch counter from the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth's where a sit-in was held in 1960, the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and the room where Martin Luther King was staying where he got shot. I really want to go back to Memphis, and spend an extended amount of time there. So much to cover.

We drove through Tennessee, and through the northern part of The Great Smoky Mountains, through Nashville and elsewhere. We ate at a place called Peerless in Knoxville for dinner. Since it's lent, I ate a shrimp po-boy. We drove another hour before checking into this Super 8 in Morristown. During the drive, I shot video, a book on making documentaries, and re-listened to a panel on self-distribution.

Hopefully I will be home late tomorrow night. Oh yeah, tomorrow night's screening of Saint Misbehavin will have none other than Neil Young. I will be jealous of that audience.

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What I Did Wednesday

Wednesday I saw two movies: Died Young, Stayed Pretty and Creative Nonfiction. Died Young is a fascinating, if a little overlong documentary about Punk/Indie Rock posters and their artists, and their attempt to subvert popular culture with their artwork.

In between movies, I ate dinner at Hut's on 6th near Lamar and packed up. I also stopped at Book People, a book store on North Lamar across the street from Whole Foods. I've been thinking about that book project again, except rather than critique screenwriting books specifically, maybe have a Gen DIY/Mumblecore bent to it instead. Anyway, I bought Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Great for the sake of reading it and picking it apart. As the day progressed, I realized that I deeply regretted my purchase, so after Hut's, I walked over to Book People and returned it. They asked no questions.

Creative Nonfiction actually began a little bit early because of some turnaround time (or so it was explained). The movie concerns Ella, a college student who is writing her first screenplay, and also trying to get laid. Creative Nonfiction starts out slow, but once it gets going, it gets going. The college scenes are very true to life, especially with the "behind-their-back" bitching of friends to other people in the dorms. Also, the screenplay reenactments are hilarious--Ella writes of a story where a teacher holds a student slave for three years, and the screenplay is about the girl's escape. Lena Dunham just graduated from Oberlin last year, and actually shot much of the movie while she was still a student. She shot the screenplay parts in Roscoe, New York, where according to her, her mother lived on a commune. Roscoe is important to me because when I was on my back from the Woodstock Film Festival, that's when I realized I was lost. I told her this story, and she thought it was hilarious...especially since there are no places to stay in Roscoe. Creative Nonfiction was the last movie I saw at SXSW.

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What I Did Tuesday

My mic died Monday. I discovered this on Tuesday, when I went tko replay the Haynes/Linklater panel I attended, and heard nothing except static air. I went back and checked my video from Monday, and there was no sound on it, either. Since Tuesday night, I have been without a mic. Better bad audio than no audio.

I attended the awards show, then a screening of Saint Misbehavin', a documentary about Wavy Gravy. During the Q&A, the director said that she had wanted to make a movie about his message, not a straightforward biography. Having seen this movie, I now understand the breadth of Wavy's achievements, which extend beyond the soundbites he provides in documentaries on Woodstock. If the Hog Farm had done the security at Altamont as they did at Woodstock, the most that might have happened to the guy that got killed was a big pie in the face. Before the movie, Lisa Law got a picture of the audience wearing clown noses, and afterward, I got a picture with Wavy.

Then I went over to Maggie Mae's to catch the remainder of the closing party. I said good-bye to Joe Swanberg, and a few others, and shot video with my Flip Camera.

I'll talk about the rest later. My father is waiting.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

500 Miles

During my ride, I wrote a long post explaining the things I did Tuesday and Wednesday, but I will type that up either tomorrow, or after I get home.

Dad and I had breakfast at Denny's off of I-35 in Austin. That Denny's looks a lot like a Johnny Rockets, and I had a Moons Over My Hammy for Breakfast. Then we set off. We stopped at Czech-themed bakery in Hillsboro, and Willie's Place in Carl's Corner. We exited Texas sometime around 4pm, and drove into Arkansas, and ate at the Waffle House for dinner. Right now, we are at a Super 8 in Forrest City, Arkansas, and we'll be leaving in the morning.

Oh yeah, and it's dropped 30 degrees since we left Austin.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Indie A Go-Go

Yesterday, I saw two movies: It Was Great, But I Was Ready to Come Home and For The Love of Movies.

It Was Great is about two friends, Annie and Cam (director Kris Swanberg and Jade Healy), who travel to Costa Rica following Annie's painful breakup with her boyfriend. Over the course of their trip, they realize that they are drifting apart as well. Amazingly, the movie was only shot in December, and with its intimacy and intensity, may be by and far the best movie I've seen at the festival. (Narrative feature, anyway.)

After the movie, I went to the IndieGoGo Party, where some of the cast and crew of the movie were hanging out. Joe Swanberg was there...with his mother, I believe.

For the Love of Movies is directed by Gerald Peary, film critic for The Boston Phoenix. It documents the history of film criticism. There were a few critics, that I've never heard of, like Otis Ferguson. It was interesting to see the evolution of Hollywood embracing film critics, then despising them. It also touches upon a rivalry between Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris. I read some of Kael's work this past fall, and after seeing this movie, am eager to check out Andrew Sarris' work as well, as well as his wife, Molly Haskell.

Right now, I'm heading over to the screening library. I'm attending panels on surviving the festival circuit and a Todd Haynes/Richard Linklater panel. The awards show is tonight, then I'm sticking around the convention center and seeing Saint Misbehavin', a documentary about Wavy Gravy. After that, I might try to go to the closing party, though I had trouble getting in last year because I had A/V equipment with me.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good Times

Last night, I drank an embarassing amount (for a 27 year old, anyway). The IFC Festival Direct Launch Party had an open bar, and I managed to down two vodka tonics and a cranberry vodka before heading over to the Breaking Upwards party, where I downed another vodka tonic. I managed to talk to a nice gentleman, a UT-Austin student who noticed me from being at the front of the line. I also got an opportunity to talk to Ry Russo-Young, Kris Swanberg, and Lena Dunham

Following a panel on Film Criticism, I saw two movies: Beeswax and Alexander the Last. Both movies were great! Beeswax concerns a paraplegic (Tilly Hatcher) who is befriended by a law student (Alex Karpovsky) as the threat of a lawsuit by her former business partner looms.

Alexander the Last is a big step forward for Joe Swanberg. For the first time, his cast is largely made up of professional actors--Jess Weixler, Josh Hamilton, and Jane Adams are among the cast. Alex (Weixler) takes in the co-star of her play (Barlow Jacobs), who's been bouncing from couch to couch. She's married to Elliot (Justin Rice), but she has interest in him, but he's very interested in her sister (Amy Seimetz). One scene really stood out for me, where the two sisters begin to make up a story--it completely reminded me of the games I used to play with my siblings as a kid. You don't have to wait for it to come to your festival--if you have digital cable, you can watch it on demand. If you don't, find someone who does.

I'm planning on attending two panels: one on self-distribution, another on Kubrick, and then I will see Sorry, Thanks

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

In Austin, at Last.

I got into Austin about an hour ago. The hotel room I'm in is a little cramped for two people, but I think in the time that I reserved it (hotel rooms in Austin fill up quickly) it's a steal. It's also clean, and that's all I ask for, really.

After we left our room in Cave City, we drove an hour and a half to Nashville, where I checked out Music Row (where all the Record Companies are), a statue of Owen Bradley, and took a picture of Noshville, a legendary deli in Nashville. Then we stopped for lunch at a Denny's in Jackson, where we were served by an obnoxious waitress. Despite some setbacks, we eventually made it to Memphis, and toured Beale Street. The doorman at a restaurant gave a tour of his place, which is chock full of Elvis' high school memorabilia. Hopefully, we'll stop there on our way back--I hope to see the Stax Museum, The Lorraine Hotel (where Martin Luther King got shot), and Sun Studios. We drove through Arkansas and spent the night at a Super 8 in Mount Pleasant, Texas, which is by and far the worst Super 8 I've stayed in.

Today was spent driving through Texas. We drove through Dallas and Waco, and on the way, we stopped at Willie's Place in Carl's Corner. Willie's Place, for those of you not in the know, is a convenience store and greasy spoon owned by Willie Nelson. It is also the only place in the country that I know of that sells only Bio Diesel fuel. Anyway, the place sold a ton of Willie Nelson memorabilia, and also had some of Willie's Gold Records on display. There's also a performing venue, but nothing was going on at the moment. When I called my mom and told her about my visit, she asked,

    "Did it stink of reefer?"
    "No," I said.

Willie's Greasy Spoon (I forget the actual name of the place) served their dishes in huge portions. My mother added, "Yes. Probably because after you smoke pot, you want to eat a lot."

Get your mind out of the gutter, Mother.

I'm going to kick back and browse through my e-mails, then take my father to Guero's Taco Place.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

For Real, Y'all!

I am now at a Super 8 in Cave City, Kentucky, after a very long day of traveling We left just after 8am. One of the early stops we made was in Jamestown, where we saw Lucille Ball's grave. We drove through Pennsylvania, then Ohio, where we stopped for lunch. After five hours of Ohio, we crossed over into the Kentucky Border at 6 O'Clock.

The first thing we did after crossing the border was stopping at a Waffle House in Union. When the waitress took our order, she said, "What would you like to eat, y'all?"

She said "y'all" like other people say "uh" or "like". Also, they actually had people smoking inside the restaurant, something I haven't seen in quite awhile. We did more driving, where we passed through billboards that have The Ten Commandments listed (God forbid a trucker wanting to pick up a lot lizard!) and one that said, "When you die, where do you want to spend an eternity?" and listened to a Christian Music-themed version of John Tesh's Intelligence For Your Life, which was described as "inspiring" with "kid-safe music" by the announcer.

My father wanted to go past Nashville, but we eventually got off here. I have pictures and video, but I won't be able to put up anything until after I get back.

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Off to Austin

Well, I'm off to Austin. I'm only going to be blogging intermittently for the next week and a half. I'll try to say something when I can.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

RIP Virgin Megastore, Mondo Kim's, and No Radio Records

I found out last summer that next month, The Virgin Megastore would be closing for good. This is incredibly sad for me, since every trip I've made to New York City since I started traveling there was never complete for me without a visit to The Virgin Megastore's Times Square location. Part of the fun in traveling down there was to see what I could pick up at the megastore to listen to on the way back.

The store played a huge role in the development of my musical tastes. Over the years, I purchased albums by Bob Dylan (John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks, and Desire), The Byrds (Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Younger Than Yesterday, Sweetheart of the Rodeo), Joni Mitchell (Song To A Seagull, Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, Court & Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, and Hejira), Buffalo Springfield's Buffalo Springfield Again, Television's Marquee Moon, Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights, Serge Gainsbourg's The History of Melody Nelson and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Honestly, I have no idea how I will fill that void now that that store will be gone. I bought a few DVDs there too (Don't Look Back, Hullabaloo, Vol. 2), but purchasing music was what made it special for me.

Another music store that's closed recently is Mondo Kim's at St. Mark's Place in the East Village. Before I had Brian to crash with, I would have friends meet me there, and we'd stop to eat somewhere nearby. I bought music here, too, including albums by The White Stripes, Cat Power, The Dirtbombs, and even a curio by Timothy Leary (shut up). The upstairs floor was a haven for anyone who was into foreign and independent films, and even stocked DVDs from other regions. I remember spotting a few Warhol Region 2 DVDs that I dreamt of buying...if I only had the money. The atmosphere was reminiscent of the old, dingy New York that I read about but was too young to witness. Yet another victim of Lower Manhattan's Gentrification.

The last record store that's closing that I'd like to comment on is No Radio Records, which is/was actually in Ithaca, New York, and I only found out about it last night that it would be closing its doors later this week. If I wasn't going down to Austin, I would most definitely be making a point to go to their final shows. When No Radio Records opened in August of 2006, it was the fufillment of a longtime dream for owners Bob Proehl and Luke Fentchel.

I stopped at No Radio as often as I could, and enjoyed making conversation with Bob about music. I also bought albums by Charles Mingus, Peaches, X, Art Brut, My Bloody Valentine, The Kills, and Stereolab there. Other than its opening day, I never saw too many people in there, and its main draw always seemed be live music (I saw The Super Furry Animals there last year), and I wondered if Bob and Luke wouldn't have had better luck opening a live venue instead. When I found out that Virgin and Mondo Kim's would be closing, I had a feeling that the closing of No Radio wouldn't be far behind. I'm sure Bob and Luke will continue to host parties such as "The Cure vs. The Smiths" at the Chanti-Loft, though.

All three stores were at the mercy of the economy of music shifting toward digital downloads and live performance. Nobody buys CDs anymore, except me, and even I'm starting to realize that CDs take up too much space. Oh, well. I'll have memories for my grandchildren, I guess...

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Houghton House: A Photoplay

I've spent the evening packing for my trip, and putting some finshing touches on my itinerary. This afternoon I drove around and took some pictures.

Here's the pier at the Geneva Lakefront. This picture doesn't have the best composition, but in better weather, people walk out on their pier and fish.

Here's another view of the pier from the side:

Yesterday I went out to The Houghton House. I always pass by it as South Main Street turns into Route 14, and I always wanted to go into the building once I got my license. Yesterday was my lucky day! This is a view of the main house:

Behind the house is yard with a sunken garden. Here are several views of the garden, which I'm sure would look much better on a nicer day:

The Houghton House hosts Hobart & William Smith's Art Department. There were many student works of art on display, especially in this alcove pictured below:

I also spent a substantial amount of time shooting video inside the house as well. It's beautiful, and I think it would make for a great location someday.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

The World of Peter Sellers

In the last 48 hours, I've watched two movies starring Peter Sellers.

The first was The World of Henry Orient. In the movie, Sellers plays a concert pianist whose every move is followed around by two thirteen year old girls. Sellers is funny here, but the real heart of the movie is the two girls, Gil (Merrie Spaeth) and Val (Elizabeth "Tippy" Walker). The movie was a major inspiration for Ghost World, and fans of that film can see similarities between the story of Enid and Becky following Seymour around, and Gil and Val following Henry around in this movie.

Henry Orient is usually a Christmas movie for me (The Holidays are never complete for me without watching Meet Me In St. Louis and this one), but lately, I've been very fascinated with the story of Elizabeth "Tippy" Walker, who played the incorrigible Valerie Boyd. At Henry Orient's IMDb board, she's made some very detailed posts about the movie, her touch-and-go post-Orient career, and why she left the business. These days, Elizabeth is an artist and an activist for the homeless, an incredible contrast from her co-star Merrie Spaeth, who played a big role in orchestrating smear campaigns against John McCain (South Carolina in 2000, she she says she regrets) and John Kerry (Swift Boat Vets for Truth). Elizabeth mentioned in one thread that she had a casting contact in New York back in 2005, so it sounds like she has some interest in acting again.

Last night after The Soup, I did some channel surfing to find that nothing was on (What else is new?). After coming across a program on PBS hosted by Michelle Phillips that seemed to be designed specifically for pledge drives, I decided to put on my DVD of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas on a lark.

Alice has sellers playing Harold Fine, a 35 year old Lawyer/Mama's Boy who's reluctantly engaged to Joyce (Joyce Van Patten). Overwhelmed by the expectations put upon him by his Jewish family, he begins to gravitate toward Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young), a friend of his hippie brother's, and after bailing out on his wedding, drops out himself.

Someone on YouTube posted one of the funniest scenes in the movie, where Nancy makes Harold some "Groovy Brownies":

The movie is very dated, but the story is a solid one: a man who goes to the extreme to find out what he wants for himself. If you're looking for pre-Easy Rider psychedelic kitsch, this is it. A lot more watchable than the genuinely awful Skidoo, in my opinion.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Medicine For Melancholy

Today I took the plunge and did Video on Demand with the movie Medicine for Melancholy. I'm kicking myself for not seeing this at SXSW last year. Daily Show cutie Wyatt Cenac plays Micah, who pursues and hangs out with Joanne (Tracey Heggins) after a one night stand. Over the course of the day, Micah begins to unleash a lot of anguish about being a person of color in a city where there aren't many, and being the only person of color at an indie rock show. Definitely worth getting On Demand if you have digital cable.

I'm also very pleased to hear that SXSW is planning on offering shuttle buses from the Austin Convention Center to the Alamo Lamar and a few other places, which is going to save me a ton of time and trouble. Can't wait!

EDIT: I meant to post this video earlier tonight, but I was unable to find it. This is Wyatt Cenac at the Obama Inaugural Ball on The Daily Show:

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ithaca: Another Photoplay

Yesterday I scored 22/28 on the census test. You only needed to have 10 questions right to pass. After I passed, they gave me a brochure which explains "what happens now".

Today I went back to Ithaca, for two reasons: 1.) Because I wanted to go one more time before I went to Austin, and 2.) Now that Spring will be here sooner rather than later, I wanted to get accustomed to driving distances again.

At 10am, I had a waxing appointment at the same Beauty Shop of the Woman who kicked me out last December. She waxed my chin and eyebrows, and the whole thing cost me $54. $22 for the eyebrows, and $16 each for the upper chin and the lower chin. She showed me price list, so she wasn't overcharging me out of anger. I'll never patronize her business again.

Other than getting stiffed, my day went very well. I went to the library, dropped off one book, picked up another. Then I walked around and took some pictures:

This is the office for The Ithaca Times, Ithaca's "alternative" paper. Last fall, I wrote them, offering to write movie reviews. Maybe they don't need me, but they couldn't have sent a "Thanks, but no thanks" letter. After all, I go to festivals and stay on top of that stuff. It's a shitty time for newspapers all around, but still.

A few years ago, someone tried to launch another alternative paper, but alas, that didn't happen. Which is a shame, because Ithaca could use an edgier publication. The Ithaca Times, IMO, is every bit as alternative as Lawrence Welk.

The above are all pictures I took at the Cascadilla Gorge. (A couple of the files are listed as "Fall Creek"; I only noticed the mistake after I uploaded them to Photobucket, and PB doesn't allow me to rename them.) It may be March, and while we haven't had a serious snowfall in awhile, as you can see that much of the Gorge is still embedded with ice. With the temperatures going up, I'm sure it will start to melt soon.

I passed this RV on the walk back from the Fall Creek Gorge. (One of the pictures will appear on the cover of the zine.) For awhile now, I've sort of fantasized about living out of an RV while I work on future projects and continue to travel to festivals. It would sure save money on rent, but I know my family would be very concerned about my safety (and rightfully so). I don't this RV is up for sale, though.

Bush may be out of office, but I think the blue bumper sticker is still funny.

On my way back, I stopped in Interlaken, where a '85 Ford Econoline Van was up for sale. It has 345,000 miles on it, and it's being offered for $1650. It looked intriguing to me because it had a lot of camper amenities, would satiate my desire for travel. Unfortunately, I have no job to pay for it, and I have no idea how much the insurance will cost.

The weather was in the upper 40s/low 50s most of the day, so I wore my sweatshirt on top of my long sleeves. Tomorrow, they're talking about it going into the '50s, so I guess it's back to the lakefront for another walk!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Parallel Life

There's nothing like having your hands tied. On one hand, I have visions of a more exciting life ahead of me. Yesterday, I published the Ry Russo-Young interview, and next week, I'll be off to Austin for SXSW. Also, I have the Are You From Bingo? DVD project, and the other project I'm working on right now.

Today I was reading a memoir of the person I'm hoping to do a documentary on, where she talks about her experiences with her travels, and her relationships--romantic and friendly. I also peered through a travel guide on Costa Rica in preparation for another interview I'm hoping to do for The Film Panel Notetaker. When I was young, I wanted to travel the world, going this place and that place. Unfortunately, money and circumstance eventually tempered those ambitions, but now I'm entertaining those fantasies again. Costa Rica would be fun, but I'd love to visit Greece, Italy, the South of France, and Bali, among other places.

At the same time, I must contend with my current reality. I continue to look for work the way I always have--sending out resumes, going for interviews. It's never been particularly fun (unless I've gotten a job), but job hunting anywhere is becoming more and more out of place. With that being said, I'll be taking a test tomorrow with the possibility of working on the 2010 census. The job will start in April and last 6-8 weeks. If I get the job, I figured by the time it starts, I'll be ready for another job. It's only temporary, and it doesn't seem too dull, so why not?

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Monday, March 2, 2009

My Ry Russo-Young Interview

My interview with Ry Russo-Young is now online at The Film Panel Notetaker. Click on the picture of Ry below, and it will take you directly to the interview.

I plan on starting to lay out the zine soon, but I don't know if I'll have a chance to start before I leave for Austin. I have an incredibly busy week ahead of me as I also begin to coordinate to shoot the new interviews for Are You From Bingo? DVD.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Modern Love Is Automatic

This past Friday Night, I had a chance to view Zach Clark's Modern Love is Automatic. I've been itching to see this since I first read about it at the SpoutBlog. I won't be staying for the entire duration for the festival this year, so when I got a message in my inbox about getting a free press screener, I jumped at the chance.

Modern Love tells the story of Lorraine Schultz, a nurse at a podiatrist's office (I believe), who after a series of unfortunate events, decides to channel her pain and anger by becoming a dominatrix. The movie also follows her new roommate, Adrian, as she tries to launch a modelling career.

Clark worked as an editor on Aaron Katz's Dance Party USA, and Modern Love has a stylization usually absent from this type of motion picture. (Not that stylization is necessary most of the time.)   "No Wave Douglas Sirk" isn't a bad description for this movie, but I see shades of Wes Anderson here, too; not only with the stylization but also with the characterization of Adrian and the sadness underneath it all.  Leading lady Melodie Sisk is a curvy, husky-voiced leading lady in the vein of Susan Hayward and Kathleen Turner, and Maggie Ross' comical performance conceals the innate desperation of Adrian.  The only bone I had to pick, really, was the death-metal music, which came off loud on my DVD player (but maybe sounds better in a theater setting).  Even that, however, seems to be compliant with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs production values of Modern Love.

I'm not a very good critic, but if you're going to SXSW this year, check this one out if you have the opportunity.  You can see it where and when at:

    7:30 PM, Sunday March 15th - Alamo Ritz 2
    9:00 PM, Thursday March 19th - Alamo Lamar 2
    7:15 PM, Saturday March 21st - Alamo Lamar 2

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